Central and East European Security: New National Concepts and Defense Doctrines

By Simon, Jeffrey | Strategic Forum, December 1998 | Go to article overview

Central and East European Security: New National Concepts and Defense Doctrines


Simon, Jeffrey, Strategic Forum


Conclusions

* Following the revolutionary political changes of 1989-1990 many Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) states adopted new national security concepts, as well as new defense and military doctrines.

* Most CEE states are now revising their national security concepts and defense/military doctrines. Consensus-building on these tasks has become more difficult because many CEE states lack the inter-agency institutions necessary for formulating national security policy.

* Because many of the threats and risks to CEE security are either transnational and/or internal, and increasingly defined in economic terms, the participation of the European Union (EU) is becoming more appropriate and important.

* These concepts and doctrines have become more important for developing consensus on not only internal and external risks and threats, but also on the means (laws and institutions) to change concepts and doctrines, thus enhancing the legitimacy of their governments.

A Time of Change

Dramatic changes in the European security environment since the revolutions of 1989-1990 have been challenging for both CEE and NATO. The unification of Germany in 1990, the withdrawal of Soviet Groups of Forces from Czechoslovakia and Hungary in 1991, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact in mid-1991, and the disintegration of the former Soviet Union and of Yugoslavia in 1992, and the division of Czechoslovakia in 1993 stimulated most CEE states to adopt new national security concepts and new defense and military doctrines. The NATO decision in November 1991 to replace its 1967 "flexible response" strategy and to adopt a new Strategic Concept also reflected the change in the security environment.

Further changes in the European security environment continued to challenge CEE and NATO. These included the increasing perception that:

* the threat of a large-scale war no longer existed, resulting in decreased defense expenditures and military establishments;

* the military might be needed in disaster relief; and

* the need to collaborate in a wide variety of peacekeeping missions--ranging from peace enforcement to policing--would grow in importance.

The impetus toward change was boosted in January 1994 when the Brussels Summit agreed to enlarge NATO, initiate the PFP Program and the Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF), and issue its declaration on proliferation. Change was further evidenced in the decision in late 1995 to deploy NATO's Implementation Force (IFOR) to Bosnia, the July 1997 Madrid Summit invitation to three states to begin accession talks, and the Alliance decision to prepare its own New Strategic Concept for adoption in April 1999. Although the New Strategic Concept is in the early draft stages, it will likely include:

* greater attention to non-defense issues such as crisis management and civil emergency planning;

* its increasing role in peacekeeping and the potential need to operate out-of-area; and

* the threats posed by proliferation and terrorism.

The changing European security environment and NATO actions have influenced CEE security concerns. Most CEE states are revising or writing new national security concepts, and defense and military doctrines. Their task is more complicated than in the early 1990s because they perceive the major challenges to their security as being internal in nature. Most perceive security problems arising from open borders which often lead to illegal migration and smuggling; organized crime, ineffective police forces, and government corruption; and, ethnic minority disputes. These are issues that extend beyond the responsibilities and capabilities of traditional military forces and require a broader societal discussion and consensus on how to solve these issues.

As CEE governments are successful in building a broad-based defense consensus, it will enhance their ability to develop and maintain effective crisis management institutions, enhancing governmental legitimacy. …

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